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Center Parcs welcomes Santa Claus back to the forest

Press release   •   Dec 08, 2020 11:30 GMT

Enchanted Light Trail (photo credit Dynamic Aperture)

Center Parcs has unveiled their Winter Wonderland for 2020, which includes a brand-new woodland light trail, Covid-secure visits to Santa and a host of festive activities.

The usual snowy scenery and glittering decorations will be adorning the forest, but the business has had to adapt its seasonal plans in line with national guidance around the coronavirus pandemic, and regular guests will notice some changes to this year’s festivities.

Alan Park, Operations Director at Center Parcs, said: “2020 has been a really tough year for everyone, and we wanted to try and bring a bit of festive cheer to families. Our team of elves have been working hard to create a magical experience, while also making sure we’re keeping our guests, our staff and, of course, Santa Claus himself, safe.”

Families can rest assured that visits to Santa are still on the cards and a number of safety measures will be in place.

Alan added: “We’ve been liaising with the North Pole’s Elf and Safety team to make sure Santa can still join us this December and their team of helpers have been busy getting everything ready. We wanted to keep as much of the magic of Christmas as we could, so even though Santa’s Woodland Workshop looks a little bit different this year, we’ve done everything we can to make the experience as normal, and safe, as possible. Most importantly, Santa will still be able to see and talk to the children in his workshop, with careful social distancing in place.”

This year, Center Parcs has introduced a brand-new experience which will allow families to explore a woodland filled with twinkling lights and bursts of colour, lighting up the forest canopy. The Enchanted Light Trail invites guests to follow a light and sound woodland trail, with an opportunity for families to become part of the show with ‘energy bands’ offering an even more immersive experience. At Elveden Forest and Woburn Forest, a Laser Garden will also form part of the festive celebrations.

A selection of seasonal activities will be on offer, including Festive Carriage Rides, Elf Academy and Festive Pottery Painting, where guests can decorate Christmas ornaments, as well as a range of festive food and drink options available.

Winter is a wonderful time to cosy up with family in the lodge and, to make that extra special, this year Center Parcs is offering a full delivery and takeaway service from all of its restaurants and has also introduced a few surprises to bring the festivities to families in their lodges. Two animated videos have been commissioned telling the stories of Nutmeg, a reindeer who finds his Christmas purpose at Center Parcs, and his sister Clove. The narrated bedtime stories will be available every evening on the in-lodge televisions.

In another first for the business, Santa himself will be making a special journey around the lodges on his sleigh during each break, spreading festive cheer to families.

Center Parcs’ popular ‘Book with Confidence’ guarantee will remain in place, allowing guests to cancel their break and receive a full refund, or move their break with no amendment fee, up to the day before their arrival.

Festive breaks are available at Elveden Forest, Longleat Forest, Whinfell Forest and Woburn Forest until 2 January, although Santa will leave the village to start his Christmas preparations on 24 December – please check the website for specific details of restrictions for each tier/alert level. Center Parcs Sherwood Forest remains closed until at least 17 December, in line with government guidance.

Festive breaks currently start from £679 for a midweek (four nights) break in a two-bedroom Woodland Lodge. 

Notes to Editors

  • Center Parcs UK has been a separate company to Center Parcs Europe since 2001; the two organisations only share a brand name and the core concept of family short breaks in the forest.
  • Center Parcs has six villages across the UK and Ireland; Sherwood Forest in Nottinghamshire, Elveden Forest in Suffolk, Longleat Forest in Wiltshire, Whinfell Forest in Cumbria, Woburn Forest in Bedfordshire and Longford Forest in County Longford, Ireland. Each village is nestled within 350-400 acres of woodland with a variety of activities to choose from, restaurants and cafes. There is also a Subtropical Swimming Paradise and award-winning spa called Aqua Sana.
  • Center Parcs offers weekend, (Friday to Monday) or midweek (Monday to Friday) breaks and welcomes more than 2.1 million guests each year, with 96% of guests expressing an intention to return. Visit England recently awarded the company five stars for all UK sites (scoring each village between 90% and 98%), making comments about the friendly nature and efficiency of the staff and the quality and cleanliness of the facilities.
  • As the leader in the UK short break holiday market, Center Parcs achieves average annual occupancy in excess of 97%.